Parents' Guide to

Nutcracker: The Motion Picture

By Joly Herman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Slightly creepy undertone to lovely staging of classic.

Movie G 1986 85 minutes
Nutcracker: The Motion Picture Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 15+

A tradition not worth keeping?

It has a very disturbing feel to it. The young girls seems to be prey and bullied. The main character has a pervy vibe. Just disturbing.
age 7+

no plot

This is exactly why the continuing popularity of this story is hard to understand. If you or your children have never seen this, you're not missing anything. Believe me.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2):
Kids say: Not yet rated

With gorgeous sets designed by the legendary Maurice Sendak, this version of the Nutcracker ballet uses the film media very nicely. There is a surreal quality to the story which does not always come across on stage. Dream sequences -- dreams within dreams -- and journeys through time and space unfold, lotus-like, as the story progresses. Though there is no dialogue in the ballet, this movie employs an older Clara narrating her experiences at Christmas, while mentioning her complicated feelings for her godfather, Herr Drosselmeier (Hugh Bigney), who cannot tear himself away from young Clara (Vanessa Sharp). This characterization of a man who seethes with jealousy when Clara dances with the Nutcracker brings a different dynamic to the classic Christmas tale.

Clara morphs into a woman as she follows the Nutcracker through the folds of Drosselmeier's gigantic cloak. Here, Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy are interchangeable. Moreover, the narrator speaks of the Nutcracker "only having eyes" for her as they danced the night away. Young viewers might not catch on to the subtext, but adults certainly will. Meanwhile, the dancing, the music, the costumes and the sets are stunning. A good choice for more mature viewers and fans of Sendak's magical artistic contribution.

Movie Details

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